Comp Time

Editor's Note: Compensating employees for overtime with time off instead of money is allowed only in the public sector.

Michael CardmanOverview: The practice of providing employees who work overtime with paid time off (PTO) to be used at a later date instead of a monetary payment is known as compensatory time off, or comp time.

Comp time is not allowed in the private sector for employees who are not exempt from the minimum wage and overtime laws of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Private employers are free to provide comp time to exempt employees who work longer hours, but are in no way obliged to do so. Private employers should grant comp time to exempt employees only in rare cases in which the employees go above and beyond the call of duty. Enshrining comp time for exempt employees in a company policy could:

  • Result in a significant liability if the employees are misclassified;
  • Incentivize employees to focus more on clocking hours rather than producing results; and
  • Exacerbate the cultural divide between nonexempt, hourly workers and exempt, salaried workers.

Public employers may offer comp time instead of cash payments for overtime under certain circumstances. Employees must agree to the practice, and their requests to take time off must be granted within a reasonable period unless doing so would unduly disrupt the employer's operations.

Trends: For many years, bills have been introduced in Congress that would extend comp time to private employers. However, the chances of any legislation actually passing remain slim.

Author: Michael Cardman, Legal Editor

Latest items in Comp Time

  • Overtime: Washington

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    Updated to reflect forthcoming quasi-overtime requirements under the Seattle Secure Scheduling Ordinance

  • Overtime: West Virginia

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    In-depth review of the spectrum of West Virginia employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to overtime.

  • Overtime: Michigan

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    In-depth review of the spectrum of Michigan employment law requirements HR must follow in respect to overtime.

  • Overtime: Maine

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    In-depth review of the spectrum of Maine employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to overtime.

  • Overtime: Oregon

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    In-depth review of the spectrum of Oregon employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to overtime.

  • Overtime: New Mexico

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    In-depth review of the spectrum of New Mexico employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to overtime.

  • Overtime: Florida

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    In-depth review of the spectrum of Florida employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to overtime.

  • Overtime: Wisconsin

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    In-depth review of the spectrum of Wisconsin employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to overtime.

  • Overtime: Missouri

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    In-depth review of the spectrum of Missouri employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to overtime.

  • Overtime: Illinois

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    In-depth review of the spectrum of Illinois employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to overtime.

About This Topic

HR guidance on complying with the FLSA requirements for compensatory time off (comp time).

Comp Time: Key Items